biology researchers are part of an international team
hoping to confirm the discovery of a new order of insects.
The wingless predatory creatures have been provisionally
named gladiators or Mantophasmatodea (pictured left).
student Kathy Meakin found specimens of the insects in
Namibia, but could not allocate them to any known order.
supervisor, Dr Roger Butlin, heard that researchers from
the Max Planck Institute for Limnology in Plon had connected
a similar specimen found in Tanzania in 1909 to another,
found fossilised in amber.
Butlin and his team are now assisting the German researchers
in DNA analysis of the specimens to confirm they are a
Butlin said: "This is a major discovery if
confirmed, it will be the first insect order to be identified
since 1915." The full story of Mantophasmatodea
can be seen in the online version of Science.